JOAN Armatrading’s latest tour can be summed up in the title of one of her own songs: Me Myself I.
That is who will be seen on stage, just the St Kitts-born singer herself in her first solo tour.
Even more significantly, it will also be the final major tour for Armatrading in a 42 year career that has seen her nominated three times for a US Grammy Award and nominated twice for UK equivalent, the Brits.
"All my tours have been very long and I go from start to finish with no huge gaps in between," she explained of her decision to call time on her major tours.
"I’m 63 now. After this, I don’t really want to do 18 months of touring.
"But I’m not retiring. I’ll always be writing and, I hope, I will do some shorter tours and performances. I just don’t want to do this extended non-stop touring. I don’t want it to lose it’s charm, but if I keep on, it definitely will.
"I’ve chosen to play smaller gigs, just so it can be a more intimate thing, just me and the audience," she said.
"I’ll be playing the piano as well as the acoustic guitar and I haven’t played the piano on stage since probably ’76 or ’77, so it’s going to be different!."
At the time of speaking, Armatrading admitted she was having quite a job settling on a final set list drawn from almost 20 studio albums dating back to her first release in 1972 and including rock, blues, jazz and pop.
"It’s not easy at all. I think I’ll do this one and then suddenly I think: no, I should do that one. But I can’t end up with 50 songs!" she declared.
"I think I’ve got it down to a list of 14, which I haven’t changed my mind on at any point, but it’s really hard. There are standard numbers I have to play, but they are easy — Love and Affection, All The Way From America, Drop The Pilot — but when I’ve done those, what do I play? I don’t know!"
• Joan Armatrading appears at Eden Court’s Empire Theatre on Sunday 19th October.